The lawsuit, similar to another filed last month, alleges that Panera Bread negligently failed to warn consumers of the high caffeine content in its Charged Lemonade products.
A Florida family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Panera Bread, claiming that the restaurant chain failed to warn consumers that its Charged Lemonade had an unusually high caffeine content.
According to NBC News, the lawsuit was filed earlier this week on behalf of the estate of the late Dennis Brown.
Brown, a Fleming Island resident, purchased three Charged Lemonade products from a local Panera outlet on October 9, 2023. During his drive home, Brown suffered a fatal cardiac arrest, which attorneys attribute to the lemonade’s high caffeine content.
The lawsuit notes that Brown had a chromosomal deficiency disorder, a developmental delay, and an intellectual disability. He lived independently, and would often visit Panera after finishing work at a nearby supermarket.
Since Brown also had high blood pressure, he typically avoided any energy drinks.
In the Brown family’s complaint, attorneys state that Panera had advertised its Charged Lemonade as “Plant-based and Clean with as much caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee.” However, with 390 milligrams of caffeine, a 30-fluidounce Charged Lemonade has more caffeine than any size of Panera’s dark roast coffee.
In fact, the lawsuit suggests that a Charged Lemonade has more caffeine than a can of Red Bull and a can of Monster—combined.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, the Brown family’s claim is the second lawsuit filed against Panera in relation to its Charged Lemonade products. Earlier this year, the family of Sarah Katz—an Ivy League student with a rare heart condition—also initiated their own claim against Panera, calling the company’s Charged Lemonade a “dangerous energy drink” and arguing that Panera failed to warn consumers about its ingredients.
Panera has since expressed its “deep sympathy for Mr. Brown’s family,” but has continued to insist that its products are safe.
“Based on our investigation, we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products,” Panera said in a statement. “We view this lawsuit, which was filed by the same law firm as the previous claim, to be equally without merit. Panera stands firmly by the safety of its product.”
Attorneys, meanwhile, have stressed that companies like Panera have responsibilities that go beyond simply selling food and drink.
“This is a vulnerable population that I think the community-at-large should help protect,” said Kline & Specter attorney Elizabeth Crawford. “And I feel like Panera failed to do that for Dennis.”
“Denni’s family, just like the Katz family, hopes that this message gets out to prevent this from happening to another Dennis,” she said.